Blind Asylum Annual Exhibition

Event Information

Irving Hall

Theodore Thomas [see also Thomas Orchestra]

Event Type:
Chamber (includes Solo)

Performance Forces:

Record Information


Last Updated:
2 May 2012

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

09 May 1865, 3:00 PM

Program Details

The Mendelssohn was performed by four young ladies, unidentified.

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Midsummer night's dream, A; wedding march
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Composer(s): Unknown composer


Announcement: New-York Times, 09 May 1865, 5.

     “The annual exhibition of the pupils of the Blind Asylum takes place at this establishment to-day, at 3 o’clock.  The musical exercises are under the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas.”

Review: New-York Times, 10 May 1865, 8.

     “The annual exhibition by the inmates of this Institution took place at Irving Hall yesterday afternoon.  Quite a large audience was present considering the inclemency of the weather.  On the platform were about 125 of the inmates of the Institution, the young ladies being dressed in white with red or blue sashes, and presenting a very beautiful appearance.  After prayer a number of solos, duetts [sic], and quartetts [sic], vocal and instrumental, were given.  Mendelssohn’s ‘Wedding March’ was played on the piano by four young ladies, with surprising accuracy and delicacy of touch, and elicited great applause.  A little boy named John Mahoney gave several solos on the piano, showing considerable power for so young a boy.  The music was under the direction of Mr. Theo. Thomas.  Mr. S. Babcock, one of the blind teachers of the Institution then exercised some of his pupils in geography, the use of the globes and maps, having projections and hollows to indicate the different countries, seas and rivers.  Several lads not over ten years of age readily pointed out the principal countries, and described the routes by land and sea necessary to take in order to reach them.  One young lady put a sectional map of the United States together in a few minutes.  Afterwards the pupils read a number of verses from the Bible in raised print, almost as readily as if they had possessed the power of sight.  One boy read with facility after the print had been covered with a handkerchief four times folded.  The mental arithmetic class showed great proficiency – the answers to very difficult questions being given with astonishing rapidity.  The ordinary method of calculating was also shown – letters being used instead of figures.

     The superintendent of the Institution stated that it now contained 130 inmates.  Twenty-five teachers are employed, several of whom are blind.  The Institute is divided into three department [sic] – mechanical, musical and literary.  Each pupil costs the Institution about $375 each per annum.  Wednesday is the visiting day, on which the public are admitted, and all are invited to see the workings of this excellent Institution.”